In May and June, 2022, Seeds of Exchange is partnering with Water for all in a fundraising campaign to provide 6,000 water filters to the people of Ukraine and will continue to support the next fundraising goal of 100,000 filters. 

DONATE: Water Filters in Ukraine (May & June, 2022)

When our founder, Sarah Davison-Tracy, went to Ukraine with a team from Water for All in May, 2022, she witnessed first-hand why water is urgently needed in Ukraine and learned about how the war’s displacement of Ukrainians is opening the door for human traffickers. Having just published a book written in collaboration with five young women in Nepal, No Longer Untouchable: A Story of Human Trafficking, Heroism, and Hope, continuing to shine a light on human trafficking around the world matters greatly to her.

While there, she met up with local freedom fighters working day and night to serve and support Ukrainian refugees.

In the below video, Sarah Davison-Tracy (Seeds of Exchange) has a conversation with Ruslan – a humanitarian worker with YWAM Turnopil – at a refugee center housing displaced Ukrainians at the border of Poland and Ukraine about human trafficking today due to the displacement of people from Ukraine.

Human trafficking is happening. One time I was at the border and some people arrived with vans of humanitarian aid. They seemed to be nice and polite people. But at the end, one of the guys asked me if they could go into Ukraine to pick up orphans and single moms to take with them. As we began to talk, he could tell I was suspicious, and they left.

People are doing this – posing as aid organizations and then trafficking people – mostly women and girls.

This is a huge problem here. We are working to respond to new ways human traffickers are working in the area. -Ruslan, YWAM Turnopil

He shared a flyer that is being distributed around the borders to protect people from being trafficked, entitled “Careful. Human Trafficking” – What follows is the translation:

  1. Never give your passport or phone to anybody.
  2. Ask people to show you their passport. Take a picture of it and send to a friend.
  3. If you’re not sure about someone, call the police for help.
  4. Remember that human traffickers appear initially to be nice and pleasant people and later on, they force you to become a prostitute.
  5. Always stay in groups and trust your own intuition.

 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to the biggest movement of people from Europe since WWII, tragically leading to the targeting of vulnerable Ukrainians for sexual and labor exploitation. What Sarah Davison-Tracy found is an URGENT need to help counter the rise of human trafficking of refugees fleeing the war.

When in Ukraine, Sarah and John DeYoung (Water for All) spoke with Nadia Gordynsky (Save a Life International) about her experience encountering vulnerable women and children at Ukraine’s borders.

When we were on the Romanian border, there were a lot of women and young girls crossing the border without any supervision.

We saw three young girls who were crossing the border. When we asked them where they were going, they said, ‘There are guys from Turkey and they told us to wait here. They have a bus and we’re going to go to Turkey. We’re going to get jobs.’

She got in a car with us, with strangers. We had good intentions. But there are many people who don’t.

Sex trafficking has increased. We heard this from border officials. -Nadia Gordynsky

 

 

Nadia continues in this next video to talk about rape as a weapon of war in Ukraine and how she believes it is because Russians do not see Ukrainians as human beings. According to Nadia, women and children are hurt the most.

Russia doesn’t believe that Ukrainians have the right to exist. So, it’s not about just killing. It’s about wiping out the nation.

When you want to hurt a nation, a people, what do you do? You hurt the most precious thing they have. So, it’s not about just killing. It’s about destroying the dignity of a nation.

That’s what sexual violence does. It touches your soul, destroys the identity of the Ukrainian people and that’s a really, really dangerous thing. -Nadia Gordynsky

 

 

There are many ways you can join in this fight, including posting on Twitter with the help of this social media toolkit from The Freedom Fund.

The war is both directly and indirectly linked to the exploitation of people in Ukraine – what the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Sub-Cluster organization in Ukraine calls Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV). According to GBV Sub-Cluster,

GBV violence and prevention is one of the most sensitive and complex areas of humanitarian service delivery.

Being identified as a survivor can cultivate isolation, depression, and re-traumatization. The effects on victims and survivors of CRSV and GBV are found in Ukraine and beyond, and you can learn more here on how to engage with them through a trauma-informed lens.

A European anti-trafficking NGO platform, La Strada International, is an online hotline in Ukraine for people impacted by domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender-based discrimination and violence. Metro, a UK newspaper, recently published an online article interviewing its founder, Kateryna Cherepakha.

One woman got in touch who had been raped by Russian occupants,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘We get messages from people who have lost everything. They are in such difficult conditions. They can be crying, but some struggle to even find the words to say.

About one week before Sarah left for Ukraine, Euractiv, a pan-European media network  released a video from the European Council calling upon Member States to intensify their efforts and policies for anti-human trafficking. You can watch the video here or below.

 

 

While Sarah was abroad, Stop the Traffick – a Ukrainian based anti-human trafficking organization – released a briefing of their preliminary findings on the current situation. Here is some of what they found. You can follow this link to the full briefing to learn more about their work in Ukraine here.

On May 17, the EU Network of National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms and the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings had a joint session. They focused on the risks and prevention of trafficking in human beings and recent EU developments in this area, including in relation to the war in Ukraine. Watch the recording of the live session here.


 

The amount of injustice going on in the world at the current moment can be overwhelming, and we encourage you to pause and take a deep breath. These stories are heavy and heart-wrenching. We stand with Ukraine, and we want you to join us. Let’s standTALL, and continue to light up the world, together.

 

Thank you, Emily Englund, for your assistance in crafting this post.